As our team builds towards opening night 2017-18, 10-part docudrama Behind The Vegas Ice will provide exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the Golden Knights.
When the series debuted on Cox 96 (1096 in HD) on Wednesday, the focus was appropriately on the day that Las Vegas received an NHL franchise last June. Episode 1, titled 'Dawn of an Era,' proceeded to feature several franchise highlights from the past couple months. These included the hiring of George McPhee as general manager, the day ice was first installed at T-Mobile Arena and October's Frozen Fury, when the Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars played the first NHL game in arena history.
Here are three other takeaways from the debut episode of Behind The Vegas Ice:
1. The docudrama showed never-before-seen footage of one of general manager George McPhee's first scouting meetings.
In perhaps episode 1's most compelling scene, we're taken directly into one of the first meetings of the Golden Knights hockey operations staff.
Throughout the summer, McPhee bolstered this staff by first hiring Kelly McCrimmon as assistant general manager in early August, and 27 additional scouts and executives whom will scour the globe this winter to evaluate talent before assembling the team's roster next summer.
"My philosophy has always been, when we get to the draft, we swing for the fences and try to find elite players," McPhee said. "Find difference makers.
"We don't like vanilla. We like lots of flavor."
The scene, set in McPhee's war room at the team's offices, will go down in this franchise's history as precisely the exact moment that the team's inaugural roster began to take shape.
And unlike the league's prior 30 franchises, all of this was caught on film.
2. More insight was provided about the unique relationship between team owner Bill Foley and senior vice president Murray Craven.
Craven, a retired 18-year NHL veteran, has been one of Foley's closest advisors, dating back to even before Las Vegas was awarded an NHL franchise.
In a candid interview, Craven provides further explanation of how, by pure coincidence, Foley became his neighbor in rural Montana in the years following his retirement in 2000. As Craven tells his story, we learn more not just about the early days of this franchise, but also about the early days, years ago, when Foley first began considering the process of attempting to land an NHL franchise for Las Vegas.
"About three years ago, he was on the lake, we live on the same lake, and he kind of came by in his boat, pulled up on my dock, I walked out and we started chatting," Craven said.
"He goes: 'I think I'm going to try to put a team in Las Vegas.' I go: 'You are out of your ------ mind. The league will never let that happen.'
"Let's move ahead three years, probably just about to the day, and I'm sitting here in T-Mobile Arena, watching kids practice on the ice, getting ready to watch an NHL team."
3. We hear from NHL players about their thoughts on Las Vegas getting an NHL team.
For the past several years, a variety of local venues have hosted the NHL Awards in June.
In episode 1, we go onto the red carpet at this year's NHL Awards, which were held only a few hours after NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman awarded Las Vegas a franchise.
"I think it's very exciting," Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop said. "It's think it's going to be a lot of fun to either play here or come and visit. I think hopefully more sports teams come to follow and it becomes a sports city."
Beyond the standard endorsement of the city, we also hear from Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron what it'll be like for active NHL players with a new team coming into the league.
"It's going to be my first time going through an expansion like that," Bergeron said. "Having guys that are secured and other guys that are not. It will be challenging, I'm sure, for a lot of guys. Stressful, but hopefully all for the better."